Obligations of Editors and Reviewers in the AMS Scientific Publication Process

(Adopted by the AMS Council 22 September 2010)

These guidelines are based largely on guidelines published by the AGU, which are, to a great extent, based on “Ethical Guidelines to Publication of Chemical Research” by the American Chemical Society (Copyright 1985, 1989, 1995, 2001, 2006 American Chemical Society). The AMS appreciates the permission of the AGU and ACS to quote extensively from these documents.

Obligations of Editors in the AMS Scientific Publication Process

  1. An editor should give unbiased consideration to all manuscripts offered for publication, judging each on its own merits without regard to the author’s race, gender, religious belief, ethnic origin, citizenship, or political philosophy.  All authors should be treated with fairness, courtesy, objectivity, and honesty.
  2. An editor must protect the confidentiality of all reviewers unless the reviewer reveals their identity to the author.
  3. An editor should process manuscripts promptly.
  4. The editor has complete responsibility and authority to accept a submitted paper for publication or to reject it. The editor may confer informally with associate editors or reviewers for an evaluation of the work to use in making this decision.
  5. Editors must provide reviewers with written, explicit instructions on the journal's expectations for the scope, content, quality, and timeliness of their reviews to promote thoughtful, fair, constructive, and informative critique of submitted work.
  6. The editor and the editorial staff should not disclose any information about a manuscript under consideration to anyone other than reviewers and potential reviewers. Reviews and reviewer identity can be shared with other Editors of AMS journals if the author consents to having the paper transferred. It is contrary to AMS publications policy for editors to release reviews or reviewers' identity to editors of non-AMS journals.
  7. An editor should respect the intellectual independence of authors.
  8. Editorial responsibility and authority for any manuscript authored (or coauthored) by an editor and submitted to the editor's journal should be delegated to some other qualified person, such as another editor of that journal. Editors should avoid situations of real or perceived conflicts of interest. If an editor chooses to participate in an ongoing scientific debate within his journal, the editor should arrange for some other qualified person to take editorial responsibility.
  9. Editors should avoid situations of real or perceived conflicts of interest. Such conflicts include, but are not limited to, handling papers from present and former students, from colleagues with whom the editor has a close professional relationship, and from those in the same institution. Any financial arrangement with sponsors that could lead to the appearance of an editorial conflict of interest should be disclosed to the Publications Commissioner.
  10. Unpublished information, arguments, or interpretations disclosed in a submitted manuscript should not be used in an editor's own research except with the consent of the author or after the work has been published.
  11. If an editor is presented with convincing evidence that the main substance or conclusions of a paper published in an editor's journal are erroneous, the editor should facilitate publication of an appropriate paper pointing out the error and, if possible, correcting it.

Obligations of Reviewers in the AMS Scientific Publication Process

  1. Because of the critical importance of peer-review to the publication process, every scientist has an obligation to do a fair share of reviewing.
  2. A chosen reviewer who feels inadequately qualified or lacks the time to judge the research reported in a manuscript should indicate it promptly to the editor.
  3. A reviewer should endeavor to complete the review in a timely fashion. Reviewers should promptly notify the editor if the review cannot be completed by the time frame agreed upon with the editor.
  4. A reviewer of a manuscript should judge objectively the quality of the manuscript and respect the intellectual independence of the authors. In no case is personal criticism appropriate.
  5. A reviewer should be sensitive even to the appearance of a conflict of interest when the manuscript under review is closely related to the reviewer's work in progress or published. If in doubt, the reviewer should indicate the potential conflict promptly to the editor.
  6. A reviewer should not evaluate a manuscript authored or co-authored by a person with whom the reviewer has a close personal or professional connection if the relationship would bias judgment of the manuscript.
  7. A reviewer should treat a manuscript sent for review as a confidential document. It should neither be shown to nor discussed with others except, in special cases, to persons from whom specific advice may be sought; in that event, the identities of those consulted should be disclosed to the editor.
  8. Reviewers should explain and support their judgments adequately so that editors and authors may understand the basis of their comments. Any statement that an observation, derivation, or argument had been previously reported should be accompanied by the relevant citation.
  9. A reviewer should be alert to failure of authors to cite relevant work by other scientists. A reviewer should call to the editor's attention any substantial similarity between the manuscript under consideration and any published paper, or to any manuscript submitted concurrently to another journal.
  10. Reviewers should not use or disclose unpublished information, arguments, or interpretations contained in a manuscript under consideration, except with the consent of the author.
  11. Reviewers are not allowed to make any use of the work described in the manuscript or take advantage of the knowledge they gained by reviewing it until it is published or by consent of the author.